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What the courts need to do is different in different situations. In general, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered that video hearings (such as Zoom) should be used as much as possible for court hearings. Some courts are doing most of their hearings that way.
When the courts require people show up in person, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered the courts must take the steps needed to allow social distancing. Under the Governor’s Orders, courts must also enforce mask-wearing throughout the facility.
If you get a notice to go to court, you can call the Judge’s staff (but not the judge) and find out what can be done to keep safe.
If you have been told to come to court, but that would mean a higher risk of getting Covid than you have in your day to day life, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services may be able to help you. This includes if you would face a risk in getting to court. (For example, if you would have to use public transportation or get a ride from someone you are not normally close to.) Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.
If you requested a hearing by video, you must provide the court with a good phone number and email address that you will be checking daily. The information for your videoconference hearing will likely be sent by email. If your contact information changes, you should let the court know as soon as possible.
You should check your email often (at least daily) leading up to your hearing, since the court may send information about your case and you may need to take action quickly.
Do not ignore the video hearing. If you cannot make the hearing, notify the court in advance (unless it was something like an emergency hospitalization).
If you cannot connect to the hearing using the information sent to you, contact the court immediately. If your connection drops during the hearing or if you are kicked off of the call, immediately try to get back in. If this does not work, contact the court.
If you are able to connect but cannot see or hear the other people on the call, do not just leave the meeting. Try to let the other people on the call know about the issues you are having by either speaking or using the “chat” feature on the program or calling the judge’s staff while the hearing is still happening.
If you do not connect for your hearing and do not answer if the court tries to contact you, a judgment may be entered against you. This may require you to file additional motion(s) and paperwork with the court, or else lose your case.
Other tips for your virtual hearing can be found here.
First call the judge’s staff. (Where to find the number is set out above.) Ask if a decision was made by the court on your case, and if so what can be done to undo it.
If you need help and do not have an attorney on the case, call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.
People do not generally have a choice about whether they are involved in court proceedings. (This is different, for example from going to a store or a restaurant where you might be able to “vote with your feet” and choose another restaurant or store if you feel that things are unsafe.)
To try to get things fixed you can:
You can also call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services if you are in a court case and need help keeping safe. Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.
If you’re having trouble getting or paying for food, here are some programs that might help. Please scroll down for more information.
Note: Because of COVID-19 some of these programs have changed some rules and how the programs work to support social distancing and help low-income people get the food they need.
SNAP (also known as “food stamps”)
|Grab and Go meals at schools and other locations (see below)||WIC (see below)||
Other programs (see below)
|I lost my job or my hours were reduced because of COVID-19
I have children under 18 years old in my household
|I’m pregnant or I am a mom with a child under 5 years old.
No. While DSNAP was provided after previous federal disaster declarations, DSNAP has not been provided for this one. Instead, changes have been made to regular SNAP. For information on regular SNAP as affected by Covid, go to https://slls.org/snap/.
Most schools and some other organizations are providing free meals for children under 18 years old. For most programs, a guardian over 18 years old can pick up the meals. Children do not need to be physically present.
You can find information about grab and go meals from schools here: https://cnp.doe.louisiana.gov/ServingSites/.
If you’re in Baton Rouge, you can get more information at https://www.brla.gov/2163/Free-Meal-Pickup-Sites-for-Children
If you’re in New Orleans, you can get more information at https://ready.nola.gov/home/#food
To find more Grab and Go locations, call 211.
WIC supports pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children (under 5 years old). WIC provides a card to buy specific nutritious foods, nutrition information, breastfeeding promotion, breastfeeding support and referrals to other health and social services.
Most WIC clinics are still open. Due to current COVID-19 precautions, LA WIC clinics are allowing participants and/or caregivers to stay in their vehicles for appointments. Your information will be collected over the phone and a member of the staff will come out to your vehicle. Please bring your ID, WIC card (if you already have one), and all other required documents with you.
Visit http://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/987 for more updated information about WIC during COVID-19.
Call 1.800.251.BABY to apply or to get more information.
During COVID-19 many local governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses have programs to help people access the food they need. These include food pantries, other “grab and go” meal pick-up sites, and food delivery for seniors and people with disabilities.
Call 211 to find out about other programs that are available.
If you’re in the New Orleans or Baton Rouge regions and you need emergency food assistance, call 311.
If you’re in New Orleans, you also can visit: https://ready.nola.gov/home/#food
Updated June 15, 2020.
I already have a consumer case in Louisiana state court.
Louisiana state courts are closed for everything other than emergency matters. Consumer cases with hearings or trials scheduled March 16, 2020 through July 5, 2020 will be rescheduled. Deadlines have been suspended.
I filed for bankruptcy and have a hearing scheduled.
Creditor meetings and most other bankruptcy related hearings in Federal Courts will be rescheduled. You will get a new notice.
I was served with a lawsuit before the courts closed. What do I do now?
Currently, deadlines are suspended until July 5, 2020. You do not need to file an extension before that date. Do not forget that you might have to file a response to the lawsuit immediately once the Governor’s order declaring a State of Emergency expires. Low-income residents of Southeast Louisiana can apply for free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. Because of COVID-19, our offices are closed to the public. You can apply for services by applying online at https://lastate.kempscaseworks.com/server/shared/a2jviewer.htm or by calling one of our offices.
Baton Rouge: 225-448-0080
New Orleans: 504-529-1000
What do I do if I receive a notice from a court, a Justice of the Peace, or a Constable while the courts are closed?
If this happens, to you, seek the advice of an attorney. You can apply for free legal help by calling the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services at the phone numbers listed above.
Where should I report price gouging?
It is illegal for someone to increase the price of goods or services during (and for up to 30 days after) a state of emergency. You can report suspected price gouging to the Louisiana Department of Justice at 800-351-4889 or at https://www.ag.state.la.us/Page/ConsumerDispute.
Where should I report Coronavirus scams?
Some companies are selling unapproved or misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent Coronavirus – even though they have no evidence to back up their claims. Please go to reliable sources– like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - for information about Coronavirus. If you suspect a Coronavirus scam, you can report it to the Louisiana Department of Justice at 800-351-4889 or at https://www.ag.state.la.us/Page/ConsumerDispute.